Budget 2014: NICTA will be heavily affected by funding cut


blog Just a day or so ago, National ICT Australia appeared relatively unfazed by the Coalition Federal Government’s decision to entirely cut its funding within two years, vowing to seek alternative options. But an interview with the group’s chief executive Hugh Durrant-Whyte in the Financial Review newspaper yesterday paints an entirely different picture. The newspaper quotes the executive (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“Even if, in the end, half of our funding was external from sale of companies, licensing and things like that, you still have to underpin the core research that makes that possible,” he said. “There’s no model in the world in which a research organisation is entirely externally funded.”

As I’ve previously written, I consider NICTA rather irrelevant to the Australian technology sector (based on my experience watching the group’s operations over the past decade); consequently I don’t have a problem with the funding being cut. However, there are definitely arguments in favour of continuing the funding as well, including, as Durrant-Whyte points out, the fact that no research group in the world is able to survive entirely without government funding of some kind. There is also the fact that the Government continues to fund research in other areas — especially medical research. One would imagine it would be worth continuing to fund the technology category at some level as well. In any case, it will be interesting to see how well NICTA is able to survive in this new world order. We wish the group luck.